The importance of participation for Christian children’s spiritual education

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James Thieke


This essay addresses the negative influence that consumerism can have on children’s development and looks in particular at how it impacts their spiritual growth. Using evidence from psychology and educational studies, it makes the case that a ‘learning-by-doing’ approach is more effective than employing a system of exchange in spiritual education (whereby the adult is cast as producer and the child as consumer). This participative approach will not only establish the children in their faith, but also strengthen the faith of the adults and the whole church community in turn.

(This paper was selected as the winning entry in the 2018 Fraser Essay Prize competition.)

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